Montessori Monday: The Prepared Environment

One of the most basic principles Maria Montessori taught was the "prepared environment." Simply, living space is carefully planned and prepared to meet the needs of all who use it, including the little ones. A prepared environment encourages independent learning and exploration in children.

"The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult"
- M. Montessori, The Secret of Childhood

Why focus on independence? Children develop a sense of inner worth and initiative when they are allowed to explore and do things for themselves. By providing a prepared environment we are telling our children: "You are important in this family. You are a capable person."

Elements of a Prepared Environment:
  • Freedom - Is the area safe and accessible?
  • Order - Do things have a place?
  • Beauty - Does my child's environment deserve respect?
  • Nature and Reality - Are there "real" things my child can work with? (Child-size "adult" items)
  • Social Environment - Does the environment encourage myself and others to interact with my child?
  • Intellectual Growth - Are there opportunities for my child to learn and grow?
We are still working on making our house a prepared environment. Hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures soon. In the meantime here are some examples from others:

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